As film buffs get ready to tune in to the Oscars this weekend…. dog lovers are looking forward to the 144th Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show. And if you love going awwww over your furry friends, here’s what you need to know:
What is the Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show?
It’s an all breed show that has been held in New York’s Madison Square Gardens every year since 1877. This year it’s taking place from Saturday, February 8, to Tuesday, February 11.
This year the Westminster Kennel Club will be showing 204 breeds. Nearly 3,000, dogs from around the world enter the competition. There is a Best in Show category, of course, but aside from that there are many other categories in which trophies can be won, including groups for sporting, working and herding dogs.
There are also two special categories.
The Masters Agility Championship demonstrates how well a dog can follow its handler’s instructions and requires rigorous conditioning, teamwork and training.
Any dog can participate in this category, including mixed breeds, but the most common breeds are border collies, golden retrievers, Labrador retrievers, cocker spaniels and papillions.
The Masters Obedience Championship judges a dogs ability to follow instructions and finally perform a “six-minute routine (designed by the handler) to showcase the broad spectrum of obedience.”
Who are the top dogs?
The three-day dog show features the top three breeds —dachshunds on Sunday, poodles on Monday and golden retrievers on Tuesday.
There’s a new kid in town
The Azawakh is making its debut at the Westminster Dog Show. The breed according to the American Kennel Club, is part of the hound group, and is described as loyal, independent and deeply affectionate. The West African hound originates from Burkina Faso, Mali and Niger and has been the ancient companion of nomads that roamed in the desert.
Do humans get any awards?
Yes they do! One coveted award is the Best Junior Handler award, which has been recognizing talented young handlers from across the country since 1934. Eight of them advance to the finals. What better way to reward these wonderful young dog lovers that dedicate so much time to their canine friends?
For all those who want to go awww….
The Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show is a benched dog show, which means that when the dogs are not being judged they will be in an assigned area for fans to visit them. So, if you have tickets to the show you can go and meet your favorite furry friend.
Where can I watch the show?
If you don’t have a ticket but want to cheer on your top dog you can watch the Westminster dog show free on the WKC App, or livestream it on Westminsterkennelclub.org.